If you haven’t seen the first part of our trip to Rome, you can take a look here!
The streets of Rome are certainly something to behold. While it’s wonderful being able to visit the tourist attractions you hear about all the time, it’s even better to discover the parts you don’t get told about. It was important to Matt and I that we left time to just wander around and follow the streets wherever they might take us. Because that’s the beauty of Rome, I don’t think we came to a dead end once! We walked and walked, our chins often tilted up as we gazed at the beautiful buildings that were so common in Rome. There were restaurants aplenty, crammed down narrow cobbled streets while you were serenaded with music. It’s no wonder Rome is known as such a romantic city, it positively hung in the air. Couples with entwined fingers drank wine while it was common to see a proposal or two each day.
Oh and don’t get me started on the food. I struggled slightly in Barcelona as I’m a fussy eater but Rome was no problem for me. Vats of pasta, the huge pizzas, and the creamiest buffalo mozzarella. It’s safe to say there was certainly no dieting going on in Rome! Naturally, gelato is famous and there are so many shops offering it that it’s hard to know which to go for. We quickly settled on our favourite and I’m not ashamed to admit we visited daily (when in Rome, right?). Being as it was so close to the Trevi Fountain, we would often take our tubs brimming with ice cream – usually Nutella or Kinder Bueno for me – and sit by the fountain, just watching.
I feel like the Trevi Fountain was one of my favourite parts of Rome. It was such a hubbub of activity every time we went (and we went a lot) and you always noticed something new. Is it not the most beautiful fountain in the world? Legend has if you throw a coin into the fountain, you are ensured to return to Rome. Whether this is true or not, I’ll find out one day!
It would feel wrong to visit Rome and not go to the Colosseum. There are 80 arched entrances which allowed easy access to the masses of spectators who were seated according to their rank. Emperor Vespasian who had commissioned the Flavian Amphitheatre as it was originally known wanted to gain popularity by staging deadly combats of gladiators as well as animal fights (bleugh!). The gladiators themselves tended to be slaves, fighting to the death. Contests were usually staged one after another in a single day and if there was too much blood on the floor, it was simply covered with a layer of sand before the ‘performance’ went on. So it’s safe to say it probably wasn’t the nicest of places but is of huge historical significance. As you stand and look out, it’s not hard to imagine the braying crowd as they watched the bloodbath before them.
You could spend as long as you wanted at the Colosseum but unless you take out an audio tour or group tour, your not provided with too much information. This was fine by us as we much prefer wandering around by ourselves. As with the Vatican, we booked ahead and I will forever recommend people do this. Why wouldn’t you? You save yourself so much time in terms of queueing (we got in really quickly) and when you are on a short trip, you want to make good use of all the time you have.
On one of our daily explorations, we found ourselves outside the Pantheon. I’ll be honest that I didn’t actually have much idea about the building itself but after researching it properly, I discovered it’s actually considered one of the most influential buildings of ancient Rome. It was built by an emperor, Hadrian to replace a former Pantheon which had been previously burnt down. Now primarily used as a church, the architecture of the Pantheon is what people flock to see, the structure built of a series of intersecting arches. I was fascinated by the large Dome which is one of the largest unsupported Dome in the world. The interior of the roof is said to represent the heavens and there is an oculus (an opening) right at the top which is symbolic of the sun and remains uncovered, regardless of weather.
While a trip into the Pantheon is definitely one to do, even just basking in the sun at one of the many restaurants surrounding the building and admiring the architecture is an afternoon well spent. A glass of wine cradled in one hand and a plate of antipasti and mozzarella in front of you with a stunning view is simply heavenly.
And that rounds of our trip to Rome! It’s definitely made me hungry to visit more of Italy (not that I need an excuse for more holidays!) and I really do think four days was the perfect amount of time to get a lot done. I’d love to know where you recommend where else to visit or if we missed anything in Rome! My next and final travel adventure of the year will be next month where we will be heading to Iceland, a very different type of break!